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Penn helps Drake stay undefeated

Roman Penn

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Led by 20 points from Roman Penn and a defensive effort that surrendered just six second-half baskets, the Drake men’s basketball overcame a 17-point deficit to defeat Missouri State, 68-61, on Tuesday night in Missouri Valley Conference play.

It was Drake’s first game since Jan. 4 due to five COVID-19 related postponements. The Bulldogs improved to 14-0 overall and 5-0 in MVC play.

“I love this group and their mindset,” Drake head coach Darian DeVries said. “They weren’t going to quit. They’re not wired that way and it’s a reflection of what they’ve been all year. Once we got our motors going, we were able to get engaged and make enough plays to pull it out.”

Penn scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half to keep Drake’s record unblemished while Darnell Brodie recorded his first double-double with a career-high 16 points and 15 rebounds. Fourteen of Brodie’s points came in the first half as he kept Missouri State’s first-half lead from ballooning.

Missouri State (9-2, 5-2 MVC) was led by Gaige Prim with 18 points and 16 rebounds. Isiaih Mosley was held below 20 points for the first time in the last nine games, finishing with 17.

After a sluggish first half in which Missouri State shot 60 percent to lead 41-26 at halftime, Drake’s defense held the Bears to just 20 second-half points and 20.7 percent shooting after the break.

“We had a first half that wasn’t ideal for us, and we knew it,” DeVries said. “Our challenge in the second half was to get back to playing with what had gotten us to this point. Our guys came out in the second half, especially defensively, with a gritty, tough effort.”

Drake opened the second half on an 11-2 run over the first six minutes, with all of the points coming from Penn and ShanQuan Hemphill, who finished with 12 points. The Bulldogs took their first lead of the half at 51-49 with 8:44 left after a 9-0 run that was capped by five-straight points from Penn.

After the Bears tied the game on two ensuing free throws, Drake rattled off five points in a row to take the lead for good and preserve its fifth road win of the season.

“We were able to move the ball a little better, get what we were looking for and defensively we dug in and made things tough for them,” DeVries said of the second half.

Missouri State’s biggest lead of 17 points came with 1:36 left in the first half at 41-24 before Drake’s strong second-half to give the Bulldogs their fourth win in the last five games in Springfield, Mo.

The two teams close out the series tonight with an 8 p.m. streamed by ESPN+.

Drake 68, Missouri St. 61

DRAKE (14-0) — Brodie 7-12 2-2 16, Hemphill 5-13 2-6 12, Murphy 1-5 0-0 2, Penn 7-19 3-5 20, Wilkins 0-6 0-0 0, Sturtz 3-6 7-8 13, Yesufu 2-7 0-0 5, Jackson 0-0 0-0 0, Ferguson 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS 25-68 14-21 68.

MISSOURI ST. (9-2) — Mosley 6-15 5-6 17, Prim 8-17 2-2 18, Ridder 0-3 0-0 0, Black 1-8 0-0 3, Hervey 2-5 2-2 6, Sharp 5-9 2-4 13, Patterson 2-2 0-0 4, Scott 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS 24-59 11-14 61.

Halftime–Missouri St. 41-26. 3-Point Goals–Drake 4-14 (Penn 3-8, Yesufu 1-3, Wilkins 0-1, Murphy 0-2), Missouri St. 2-16 (Sharp 1-2, Black 1-7, Hervey 0-2, Mosley 0-2, Ridder 0-3). Fouled Out–Hervey. Rebounds–Drake 36 (Brodie 15), Missouri St. 45 (Prim 16). Assists–Drake 6 (Penn, Yesufu 2), Missouri St. 9 (Mosley, Prim 3). Total Fouls–Drake 16, Missouri St. 16. A–1,989 (11,000).

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